Good Smile Company – What the hell is wrong with you?!?!?!?!?!

24 01 2009

(Saber Lily ~Distant Avalon ~ )

From what you can see in the prototype pictures, this Saber is definitely a beauty even if you never knew anything about her. Y’know, one of those beauties that you come across whilst walking down some street until normality has been shaken upon the sight of a beautiful woman. She really is that beautiful to take note of without having some sort of familiarity. Up until this point, there has been only 1 other Saber that has tried to recreate Saber as a warrior and that is the 4 year old Saber – Battle Pose ver. – done by Good Smile Company as well. Battle Saber had such a dynamic pose as if she was about to strike someone down or had already done so in the process. Unfortunately, the actual figure’s face is a little bit grotesque in the sense that it reveals a darker, more violent looking Saber. The majority of Saber depictions out there tend to have a more serene or playful nature to them. Well, that is all well and good, but there needs to be more scaled figures (sorry figma) of Saber in an action-oriented pose.

Saber Lily is from a recently released game, Unlimited Fate Codes, and this is a direct pose in touch with the theme of her character in that game. Originally, I had preordered my Unlimited Fate Codes, too, being a gamer and my husband would definitely appreciate a solid fighting game. Oh yeah, the figure is a definite bonus, too. Due to a very minor snaffu (sp), I no longer had my preorder and was not as adamant in trying to find a preorder replacement. I figured I’d just wait it out until I got an even better price that what I had originally intended to pay. Anyways, the prototype for this figure was released sometime after with many non-Lily Saber figma critics quickly jumping the bandwagon for this figure. I cannot blame them as she is an actual scaled figure as opposed to a figma – which has perks onto itself – and how many figure collectors actually play video games not in line with the rpg genre. Yes, it is quite an astounding fact and I don’t count puzzle-esque games as well. That’s very much like me picking up the newspaper and playing a crossword puzzle or buying a Sudoku book which is not to belittle the rpg or puzzle genres. People who tend not to play video games primarily stick to specific genres and are casual gamers at best. So, I’ve gone off on a tangent here.

So, bundling beautiful Lily Saber with a video game must not have been all that successful of a marketing ploy due to the aforementioned gaming reasons above. Figure collectors can’t justify spending that much on a figma even though it is bundled with a very good game and is considered a norm in terms of limited bundles. For a collector, they would only buy Unlimited Codes for the figma – which a real shame – since the game is very good, but it’s game mechanics is foreign territory to them. For a gamer, it is a win-win situation.

So, how does a situation like this get rectified for the majority of the figure collectors out there who are short of a Saber Lily iteration. You go and make an actual scaled figure of her. It is as simple as that. I have no problem getting both as the quality seems to be very nice for it’s kind (figma versus scaled figure) along with other perks. What I really don’t understand is the price justification behind this.

Let’s look at an example of a manufacturer who has constantly delivered with a 9.9-10 quality control/prototype/character design rating. ALTER is one of the best of the best in the figure world and for damn good reason, too. Whenever ALTER updates their website or blog with teaser pictures or prototype pictures, I am always assured that my money is being invested in good hands. It’s this type of trust that provides the basis for customer loyalty. What you see is what you get and quite frankly, I don’t like being deceived as this is not a cheap hobby to mess around with. With that being said, some of ALTER’s exquisite figures range in prices anywhere from $55-$99. The most recent scaled figure that comes to line that has a $99 price bracket is 1/6 Kos-Mos swimsuit even though you will find some disparities with her price at other places. All in all, she is a pricey beauty but you are paying for the 1/6 scale, authenticity and excellent design/control. I am privileged to own a 1/6 ALTER figure and seeing their quality blown up to an even bigger proportion is a real treat. The thing with ALTER is that it will advertise it’s valued, I guess, Japanese MSRP with a discounted one closed off in parentheses on their website. Retailers tend to go with the closed off price quote with further shavings for added incentive towards sales. It’s for all these reasons and a variety of unmentioned ones that ALTER is ranked as my top tier figure manufacturer. I would say Volks but the nigh chance of getting ahold of those sexy resins complicates our relationship just a little bit.

Good Smile Company has been announcing figure after figure after figure, be it scaled or nendoroid – like a viral epidemic. I do not mince words when I say that I am quite fond of their viral nendoroid line. I can’t exactly say that I agree with their choice of marketing for limiteds – mail-in DVD coupons is just outright ridiculous and idiotic and let’s not even get into how ghetto it seems to be selling nendoroids on a parking lot shrine.

Some of the nendoroids I’ve received have a less-than satisfactory quality control. Nendoroids are typically in the $35-40 price range, so quality control might not be 100% high on them since they are being mass produced and/or rereleased. Good Smile Company is a bit notorious for rereleases or multiple batches of a figure. For obvious reasons, if a commodity has a high enough demand to make production worthwhile then they will do it. At times, the prototype doesn’t look like the actual released figure which is ok and the disclaimer of a mass produced figure is never far behind. This used to be ok with me until I bought more and more ALTER figures and they are practically dead on. If I am going to be charged a lot, it better be a worthwhile investment. This is a hobby so it is two parts – 1 part enjoyment/pleasure and 1 part investment. I earn my $ and would rather not see it go to shoddy merchandise and I am a big supporter of art and quality. If there are people out there who have no problem squandering their money, more power to you but this is not my ideology. For example, my husband loved the Human Mage figure well before he came to know that she was part of the Lineage line. I really liked her, too. She had this mystical air to her that was accentuated by her unique attire, creative base and beautiful face. I once read from a fellow poster that he named his Human Mage something close to French origin because she looked French to him. She looks a little French to me, too. Well, I got her and much to my dismay, I don’t like the coloring scheme used for her lips. The shape of her lips wasn’t as supple as they were in the prototype, her eyes didn’t have that distinction to them and Good Smile took it upon themselves to line the inside of her mouth which is terrible. My husband didn’t care for the lining of the mouth among other things as it looked as if she had slightly smeared some of her lipstick onto her teeth. Regardless of those flaws, she is still a fairly good figure.

Next, Saber Lily ~ Distant Avalon ~ comes onto the scene with a whopping 9300 MSRP 9800 MSRP. Good Smile, you must be seriously out of your freaking minds?! The most expensive Good Smile Company figure albeit exclusives/limiteds/bundles is the Shuraki Trinity girls and Pastel Ink Vignette (~8500). The Pastel Ink Vignette is an extremely sizable figure with a very extensive amount of detail on the base (Think of a rose parade float). The Shuraki Trinity girls came with drama CDs and artbooks as well as specialized bases. There is added incentive as to why the price seems a little bit more steep for them. Although, the poor figure design for the Shuraki girls (Char, Rize and the cast-off feature) is a testament that the manufacturer didn’t really confirm the stability of the poses – Char’s hair ceases to stay in the air; Rize breaks off of her peg due to the inappropriate weight distribution; very easy to scratch or hard to remove the clothing.

Saber Lily is an increase of roughly ~1300 with no real added incentive for me. She is 1/7 in scale and is a popular character with a battle version taken from a video game. Let’s take a look at those factors on an individual basis.

1. Scale – While 1/7 is an increase to 1/8, 1/6 is the real eye-catcher for me.

2. Character – She is a very popular character and I like that they took a non-serene Saber from a video game

3. Pose – Very powerful, yet elegant pose

4. Fan Appeal – With her background from a popular visual novel, there are quite a few fans of her. Fan appeal is very high

5. Base – Different from your standard base offerings, but really nothing to go home about

6. Quality – Quality Control for Good Smile isn’t where it should be

7. Price – Ridiculous

The economy is flailing, thus affecting many avenues of life. Figures are takinga major hit as the amount spent for a figure is increased due to the currency conversion. The little dent increases here and there amounts to a bigger overall dent and less figures than you could have originally owned. Even with the economy with the way it is, this figure’s MSRP is a complete rip off. I can see her being $85, but $103-125 is really out of left field, considering their quality control. If I am paying this much for a figure, it better be spectacular and give me a mind blowing reaction. I cannot trust Good Smile with this much of my money on an individual figure. For me, I feel that they are just jumping on a bandwagon to exploit a really popular and well-known figure from a popular franchise, knowing full well that people will buy her whatever price or condition is established. So, unless, you happen to kiss Good Smile’s ass and whore them out to other people, I can’t really see how anyone will be getting this figure for a good deal. It’s a shame because she is a really beautiful figure, but not worth $100 + to me.

Something interesting to note is the thin pole holding up her sheath. I don’t think a lot of people have seen this, but I wonder if this would factor into one’s decision in getting her. The colored prototype doesn’t feature the thin pole and it could’ve been photoshopped out or resin material was strong enough to attach the sheath to her hand. I’ve some pvc figures (see  ALTER Reinforce) where a part attaches to the body and appears to be floating, but the shealth is remarkably bigger than a book. We will see…

I said that I would bite this bullet, but I’m waiting for a decently sized bullet to bite into.

* In case you wondered, I have been – and am still – sick, so my presence was only known on the random posts here and there. I don’t seem to be getting any better, but I’ve been working a lot.

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12 responses

24 01 2009
Blowfish

Those are some very solid points you made there.I havnt got any ALTER figures yet…Cant compare them to my GSC ones.I agree that they have messed up quite a few times in the last year.Im glad that Ive read about Rizes peg problem beforehand.
Lets be honest the price is horrible.I can get a handpainted Gathering figure for that amount of cash.I fell in love with the coloured prototype but i wont spend that much money on her.

26 01 2009
oneandonlyjem

ALTER, with the exception of Volks for obvious reasons, is at the top of the food chain when it comes to quality control and being nearly identical if not identical to the prototype pictures. I can’t consistently say that about all of my Good Smile figures. If the figure was cheaper and more accurate with the price then I would have no problem putting in an order, but I think Good Smile is just being ridiculous and exploiting the Saber angle.

Thanks for dropping by and reading my rant.

26 01 2009
coeli

As much as I love to own her, I don’t think I’d want to spend my money on something that I have no assurance of. I just think she’s over-hyped, pretty as she may be.

28 01 2009
oneandonlyjem

Thanks for the feedback. Yep, it’s definitely the hype machine. I can’t gauge if Good Smile will overproduce her in waves, so there’s no real telling whether or not this figure will be rare or not or the quality control, either. You hit it on the nail – “assurance”.

1 02 2009
Magielle's_Dream

Sorry that you’ve got the same problem with Human Mage (Magielle). I thought I was the only unfortunate to get her with those flaws! You’re right though, she’s still an attractive figure.

I’m one that ordered Saber Lily. And, I hope she’s worth it! If GSC does a less then reasonable job with her production, I won’t hold them in any real regard and my future purchases will reflect that lack of trust!

7 02 2009
oneandonlyjem

The cheapest to get her is like less than $105 with free shipping if applicable. $97 with a VIP account. Or from Hobby Search. It sorta makes me angry because she is more heavily discounted in Japan and I wish we could partake in something like that as well. Oh well. I preordered her, too. She better deliver or I’ll just be shaking my head for longer.

2 02 2009
James

The quality is not as good as before for GoodSmile … compared to Gwendolyn from Alter , i can see Alter far ahead quality wise …

So that price is really crazy …

14 02 2009
Onegai

Yes that is clearly an overpriced item. I agree that GSC is acting poorly at this time by releasing this at such a heavy price point and the HUGE Nanoha.

I find it odd about the differing QC as ALTER, GSC and Max Factory are pretty much the same company.

14 02 2009
oneandonlyjem

I don’t know anything about ALTER/GSC/Max Factory being one company. I know that GSC and Max Factory sleep in the same bed with each other and practically plan their products around one another.

I know that GIFT and FREEing items are in cahoots with GSC in some shape. Maybe GSC distributes their product. Native is a smaller company that is related to Max Factory.

I don’t know anything about ALTER being affiliated with them aside from some of their employees such as sculptors being borrowed or working somewhere else before.

Yes, they are very bad and don’t give a crap about us because they are greedy bastards. On a plus note, thank you for stopping by and expressing your opinion.

15 02 2009
Valentines Day and a Rant « One ‘N Only Jem

[…] rant about, but I believe this is more than satisfactory to get my point across. In other news, I ranted about Good Smile’s terrible pricing for Saber Lily. Unfortunately, everyone is offering her […]

21 02 2009
Minaru

I got my Saber Lily figma and I like the game, so thankfully it was a win-win situation for me.

I got it for a really expensive price though…>_<

Anyway, yeah I hear she’s HIGHLY over priced. (Referring to GSC figure) I hope shes worth it.

11 01 2010
2009 in perspective and looking ahead towards 2010 « One 'N Only Jem

[…] Good Smile Company – What the hell is wrong with you?!?!?!?! – My stance on Good Smile being ridiculous using Saber Lily as an example […]

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